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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Health Benefits

Birds’ nest has been used for a long time in traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries. It is classified as a cold food or “ying” according to the Chinese food concept.Birds’ nest is mostly composed of water-soluble protein that is easily absorbed by human body. The total protein content is about 65 percent. The other constituents are moisture (~ 10%), traces of fat (~23.3%), and carbohydrate (~0.8%). Other minerals present are calcium and iron. The total content of Amino acid in birds’ nest is approximately 6 percent. Amino acids isolated from birds’ nest consist of amide, humin, arginine, cystine, histidine, and lysine. It is possible that when taken with other certain foods through a cooking process,such as ginseng (as a hot food or “yang”), may have high nutritive and therapeutic value to human body.Birds’ nest is regarded as having a wide range of tonic and medical values. Traditionally, it is believed that birds’ nest can strengthen the lungs and use in the curing and strengthening of body in diseases related to weak blood, body overheat, and other bronchion ailments. Consumption of bird nest is also recommended to complement other treatments to combat degenerative diseases such as cancer and also for recovering health after illness, or surgery. Recent studies in Hong Kong suggested that it may even be useful in the treatment of AIDS.

It is also claimed that Bird's nest contains elements which can stimulate cell growth and especially beneficial to elderly recovering from various body ailments. Birds’ nest is especially valued by ladies for its reported properties of making the skin delicate and growing radiantly. It is also mentioned that an expectant mother consuming bird nests would have a baby with fine and smooth complexion.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Species of Swiflet

There are many species of swiftlet family around the world but not all species of swiftlet can produce edible nest. Only 5 species from the family of Apodidae known scientifically as Collocalia Fuciphaga (White-nest Swiftlet), Collocalia Maxima (Black-nest Swiftlet),Collocalia Esculenta (Grass-nest Swiftlet), Collocalia Vanikorensis (Mossy-nest Swiftlet), and Collocalia Brevirostris (Himalayan Swiftlet) can construct edible nest. Only the first three main edible nest producing swiftlet will be mentioned.

Collocalia Fuciphaga Species

Also known scientifically as Aerodromus Fuciphagus, this specie is popularly known as the White Nest or House Nest swiftlet. They construct their nests with a glutinous nest-cement produced by a pair of large, lobed salivary glands under the tongue. It is this nest-cement that constitutes the raw material of bird’s nest soup and renders the nest its commercial importance. The glutinous strands content in the nest of this species is about 85-97% in its unprocessed form, making it the most sought after in the market as well as commanding the highest price. Most if not all bird’s nest farm cultivate this particular specie.
C.Fuciphaga measures about 12 cm in its entire length and weighs about 15 to 18 gm. This swiftlet has a band of brownish gray feathers across the rump with dark brown eyes, black beak and feet. Eggs are laid 2 at a time, slightly oval in shape and white in colour.

Collocalia Maxima Species

Also known scientifically as Aerodromus Maxima, this species’ popular name is Black-nest Swiftlet because it uses its brown feather together with its glutinous strands as cement for making its nest, thereby making its nest blackish in colour. Its feet have feathers all over and thus contribute in the formation of its nest. The glutinous strands content in this nest is only 5-15% in its unprocessed form.

This nest is very popular in making bottled or canned bird’s nest, and sold most popularly in cake form or as strips and crumbs.C.Maxima is larger than the Fuciphaga measuring averagely at 13 cm and weighs about 28 gm. At a glance this 2 specie might look the same but on closer examination they are quite different. The distinguishing difference is its lower leg grows a row of small feathers. This swiftlets nests can be the red-legged or white-legged form and usually lays one egg.

Collocalia Esculenta Species

Its popular name is Grass Nest as it uses grass with its glutinous strands as cement for making its nest. The nest is normally brownish in colour with the glutinous strands content at about 5-15% in its unprocessed form. This swiftlet nest is highly demanded for restaurant consumption and is sold most popularly as strips or in crumbs and cake form.C.Esculenta has a glossy, darkish blue-black colour and is smaller than C.Fuciphaga and C.Maxima measuring only about 10 cm in length.

All these species has slightly parted tails. Good quality nests from these species can be distinguished by the firm, white basal attachments and a comparatively large proportion of nest-cement with few feathers or grasses in the nest-cup, a thick body and in perfect shape, form as well as colour.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Recommended Book "Field Guide to the Birds of Java and Bali "

= Field Guide to the Birds of Java and Bali =
Paperback: 390 pages
Publisher: Gadjah Mada University Press (1988)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9794200921
ISBN-13: 978-9794200926
Average Customer Review: 5 star

Locations Mentioned in Text:
1. Jakarta (Muara Anke). 2. Cibodas/Gunung Gede-Pangrango. 3. Pelabuhan Ratu. 4. Carita (Curug Gendang). 5. Pangandaran. 6. Yogyakarta (Candi Borobudur).. [PS: Bogor is between Jakarta and Cibodas; Segara Anakan is just east of Pangandaran.]

On the second day it rained all day; did very little at Carita. Birding highlights: Streaked Weaver. Refused entry to Cerug Gendang (waterfall reserve) by PHPA guard, on advice that the track was washed out.

Third day, Daniel Philippe came down from Jakarta, and got us past the guard with his excellent language skills. Birded Cerug Gendang (lowland rainforest). Birding highlights: Grey-rumped Treeswift, Ruby-cheeked Sunbird, Javan Sunbird, Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, Greater Green Leafbird, Blue-winged Leafbird, Little Spiderhunter, Grey-cheeked Bulbul, (Javan Lutung). Returned to Jakarta with Daniel

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Potentiation of Mitogenic Response by Extracts of the Swiftlet's (Collocalia) Nest.

The edible bird's nest extract from Collocalia spp. was found to contain a glycoprotein which could potentiate mitogenic response of human peripheral blood monocytes to stimulation with Concanavalin A or Phytohemagglutinin A. The potentiating effect of the extract was most marked at suboptimal mitogenic concentrations of these lectins, decreasing the 50% optimal concentration of Con A and PHA by 6- and 2.5- folds respectively. The potentiating effect was exerted early during the first 10 hours following stimulation with Con A. This potentiation activity was not dialysable, but it was stable to limited digestion with trypsin, alkaline pH and extraction with ether.

by :Biochem Int. 1986 Sep;13(3):521-31.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Sun As a Navigation

Walet dalam Jaring.

The 20 cm long Hirundo rustico or barn swallows are recorded as the farthest to wander. They fly across continents from Africa, Asia all the way to Australia. During the journey, they use sun as navigation so that they never get lost. According to Prof Dr Johan Iskandar Msc, barn swallows have magnetic compass in their bodies that functions to find their flying direction. Furthermore, the birds are gifted with special memory―can well remember places they have passed-in fact, they can choose the efficient and safe routes
Walet dimakan ? disantap?
Mungkin saatnya walet menuju kepunahan, baru harga sarang bakal naik lagi...

Supply The Power 4 U r Bird House

Ini bukti lain kemajuan teknologi di Belanda. Setiap nurseri besar punya pembangkit listrik sendiri. Mereka punya mesin yang bisa mengubah gas-yang dibeli dari perusahaan minyak setempat-menjadi listrik dan panas.

'Kebutuhan listrik sangat besar terutama untuk mengaktifkan lampu tambahan selama musim dingin ketika hari pendek,' kata Gertjan van Staalduinen. Jika mesti membeli, boros biaya. 'Sementara untuk mengoperasikan teknologi robotik kebutuhan listriknya relatif kecil,' sambung Gertjan. Hasil lain pembakaran gas berupa panas dimanfaatkan untuk menghangatkan nurseri pada musim dingin. Sebaliknya, energi juga dibutuhkan untuk mendinginkan greenhouse pada musim panas.

Produksi listrik yang tidak termanfaatkan di nurseri dijual ke pemerintah atau mereka yang membutuhkan. Itu pendapatan sampingan buat si pemilik nurseri. Sementara pemerintah sendiri mengembangkan pembangit listrik bertenaga angin. Turbin angin itu prinsip kerjanya mengambil cara kerja kincir angin tradisional. Listrik dari kincir angin modern itu dimanfaatkan untuk memasok kebutuhan listrik rumah-rumah penduduk. Di Eropa, Jerman pengguna teknologi kincir angin modern terbesar.(Evy Syariefa)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sampel Hasil Panen

Before Processed

Segitiga Plus / Triangle Shape Plus

Sarang Segitiga / Triangle Shape

Sarang Mangkok / Bowl Shape

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review of Scientific Research on Edible Bird's Nest

Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Shun Wan CHAN

Abstract: Edible bird's nest is one of the widely used health foods in Chinese communities. The market generated by it is increasing because it exhibits a lot of beneficial effects to human beings. For its high market value, fake edible bird's nest and misleading promotional description emerged. This article briefly reviews the scientific research on authentication technologies and pharmacological effects of edible bird's nest. It is expected that people's knowledge on edible bird's nest could be enhanced.
摘要:燕窩在華人社會是其中一種非常普及的健康食品。一直以來,人們都相信燕窩有多種不同之效用,因此燕窩 市場不斷在擴展。由於燕窩的價值絕不便宜,故此假燕窩和一些帶有誤導性的推銷描述不斷在市場上出現。本文將簡略 回顧一些有關燕窩辨別真偽的技術與藥理效用之科學研究,希望藉此能加深社會對燕窩的認識。

Swiftlets (collocaliini) are tiny insectivorous birds that are distributed from the Indian Ocean , through Southeast Asia and North Australia to the Pacific[1]. Amongst various species of swiftlets in the genus of Collocalia, only the nests of four species habituating in the Southeast Asian region have commercial value because of human consumption. They are Collocalia fuciphaga, Collocalia germanis, Collocalia maxima and Collocalia unicolor[2]. Collocalia species, average 6.5g in weight, have glossy plumage[1]. Their nests are constructed with salivary glue, a cementing substance, and may incorporate other materials such as vegetation or feathers. It takes about 20 days to finish the nest. The edible bird's nest ( 燕窩 in Chinese) making up with purely salivary glue are much more expensive than those incorporating with other materials (see Figure 1 in p.40).

In Hong Kong and in Chinese societies throughout the world, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is commonly used to treat diseases and enhance health. It is believed that TCM herbs have wide-ranging effects for enhancing health, lowering risk of diseases and promoting life span [3,4,5]. Being one of the TCMs, edible bird's nest is believed to have health enhancing effects such as anti-ageing, growth promoting and immunoenhancing properties. In fact, the medicinal use of edible bird's nest can be traced back to 17th century[6]. However, edible bird's nest is different from most of the TCMs. It is not only a medicine to make people healthy but also a pleasant food. Traditionally, it is double boiled with rocky sugar to make a delicacy known as "bird's nest soup".

Although the size of Collocalia is small, the market generated by it is tremendous. The estimated market of edible bird's nest in 2004 is worth about HK$ 3 billions in Hong Kong . The local market is the world's largest consumer of edible bird's nest[2,7]. The annual percentage increase of the local market is in doubledigit[7]. It may be due to the fact that Hong Kong people are more and more concerned about their health and the status of TCM has risen after a series of government policies on TCM. Moreover, a dual nature of edible bird's nest, that could be treated as medicine or/and food, may play a role. In the past, people could only buy dried edible bird's nests. For the advancement in food technology, large variety of edible bird's nest related products emerge to the market. They are readily to serve products. No cooking process is required. Amongst those new products, most of them are still in the traditional form as bird's nest soup, such as instant bird's nest in different concentrations. Some instant bird's nest may also supplement with other TCMs. Apart from the traditional form, there is a trend of using edible bird's nest extract as one of the chief ingredients of the products. These products focus mainly on the medicinal use of edible bird's nest. However, some of them may exaggerate the therapeutic use of edible bird's nest. For the limited supply and high price of edible bird's nest, it is not uncommon to hear reports of fake edible bird's nest in the market. The imitation substitute commonly used is the edible plant-exude, gum karaya or sterculia[8]. Recently, there are reports of fake edible bird's nest made from fishes' skin, mushroom or algae in China [9]. Therefore, it is a great concern on authenticating the genuineness of edible bird's nest. In this review, the author will briefly summarize some advanced technologies in authenticating edible bird's nest. The medicinal benefits of edible bird's nest with contemporary scientific evidence will also be given.

Authenticity of Edible Bird's Nest
The first comprehensive report on authentication of edible bird's nest can be traced back to the early 1990s. Sam et al., (1991) demonstrated the possibility to use scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis, flame atomic emission spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and other physico-chemical techniques to ascertain the authenticity of edible bird's nest[8]. Since they only made a comparison with some imitation bird's nest with substances from plant origins, it limited the generalizing ability of the techniques to other imitation materials. In addition, they relied on sophisticated equipment. It is hard for commercial testing laboratories to carry out. Recently, a research team in China has developed a simple but accurate and reliable spectrophotometry method to determine edible bird's nest content[10]. It could also be used to differentiate genuine edible bird's nest with saliva, pig's skin and Tremella fucifomis[10]. The method is based on the reaction between N-acetylneuramic acid and ninhydrin in acid solution. The method evaluates the internal content of N-acetylneuramic acid, a nine-carbon sugars, which is one of the major components in edible bird's nest.

Nutritional Content and Medicinal Use
Edible bird's nest contains mainly carbohydrates, amino acids and mineral salts. The major ingredients of edible bird's nest are glycoproteins[11]. Amongst the carbohydrates in edible bird's nest, sialic acid (9%) is the major one. It was found that exogenous source of sialic acid may contribute to neurological and intellectual advantages in infants[12]. However, the nutritional and biological mechanisms of sialic acid in human body are still under investigation. The other major carbohydrates include 7.2% galactosamine, 5.3% glucosamine, 16.9% galactose and 0.7% fucose[11].

Amino acids and mineral salts are also important components in edible bird's nest. Three non-essential amino acids (aspartic acid, glutamic acid, praline) and two essential amino acids (threonine and valine) can be found[11]. They could facilitate normal body functions such as repairing and immunity. Edible bird's nest is rich in mineral salts. It contains high content of sodium and calcium. It is because the source of edible bird's nest is derived from saliva Collocalia inhabiting mainly in limestone caves. In addition, low levels of magnesium, zinc, manganese and iron are also detected in edible bird's nest[8].

In spite of the long history of using edible bird's nest for medicinal purposes, there are not many scientific researches related to the therapeutic use of it in literature. The first scientific evidence was given by Ng et al. (1986) in Hong Kong. Edible bird's nest aqueous extract was found to potentiate mitogenic response of human peripheral blood monocytes to stimulation with proliferative agents, Concanavalin A and Phytohemagglutinin A[13]. It suggested that edible bird's nest might possess immunoenhancing effect by aiding cell division of immune cells.
One year later, other scientific evidence was published by Kong et al. They demonstrated an epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like activity in aqueous extract of edible bird's nest that stimulated the DNA synthesis in 3T3 fibroblast in a dose dependent manner in vitro[6]. EGF is a 6,000 Da polypeptide hormone produced by glands of the gastrointestinal tract, namely the salivary and Brunner's glands. It appears to play a crucial role in major normal cellular processes such as proliferation, differentiation and development[14]. It may offer a rationale for the medicinal use of edible bird's nest in ageing resistance. Since the receptor for EGF is highly expressed in a number of solid tumors, including breast, head-and-neck, non-small-cell lung, renal, ovarian and colon cancer[15], people are worried about a possibility to induce tumor progression and to resist chemotherapy/radiation treatment in tumor cells; in consequence, suggest that cancer patients should avoid edible bird's nest. In fact, there is no evidence supporting this suggestion. Currently we have evaluated the effects of aqueous extract of edible bird's nest on the viability on two human cancer cell lines, human breast cancer MCF-7 (ATCC HTB-22) and human liver cancer HepG2 (ATCC HB-8065). There was no observable effect on cell viability when comparing with the control group (unpublished data).

In 1994, a research team in China, evaluated the pharmacological effects of edible bird's nest and pearl powder containing formulation. The formulation was demonstrated to have immunoenhancing effects by elevating DNA synthesis of T-lymphacytes and circulating immunoglobulin M content in mice. In addition, the formulation also showed ageing retardation by increasing the level of superoxide dimutase[16]. However, the study did not explore whether the effects came from either edible bird's nest, pearl powder or both.

Further Studies
Edible bird's nest has been used for several hundred years. Its usage is based mainly on historical, anecdotal and observational reports of its benefit. Scientific evidence for its efficacy is still limited. The putative health benefits such as resisting ageing and improving immunity of edible bird's nest may be linked, at least in part, to EGF-like activity and mitogenic factor. However, there may be other mechanisms involved. In addition, there may be additive, synergistic or antagonistic effects between different components of edible bird's nest. Work is needed to establish health-related effects of edible bird's nest, for example, through assessing biomarker response, isolating and identifying the active components and investigating their possible interaction. In Hong Kong, many people take edible bird's nest regularly. It is worth establishing epidemiological study to measure relationship of consistent use of edible bird's nest and its putative beneficial effects in human beings. For the large market of edible bird's nest, developing a systematic method to identify the sources of edible bird's nest and check the authenticity of its sample is, undoubtedly, indispensable.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Population in Vietnam

Monday, January 12, 2009


Great things are accomplished when you believethat what's inside of you is superior to your circumstances.What you have outside you counts less than what you have inside you.
You're more important than any of your problems.You're bigger than anything that can happen to you.
Courage is a special kind of knowledge.It's the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be fearedand how not to fear what ought not to be feared.
True courage is a result of reasoning.A brave mind is always impregnable.Reality is something you rise above.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Unusual from Makassar, Indonesia

Ini pemandangan tak lazim di sebuah rumah walet di Bonerate, Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan. Aroma amonia menguar tajam begitu melangkah masuk ke dalam. Maklum, lantai bangunan itu becek oleh kotoran si liur emas. Si empunya tetap mempertahankan kondisi itu karena di sana setiap 2 minggu dipetik 5 kg sarang Collocalia fuciphaga.

Bangunan walet berlantai 4 di daerah Pecinan, Kota Angin Mamari, itu tampak seperti rumah biasa. Tak terlihat lubang-lubang udara dari pipa PVC di tembok yang menjadi ciri khas rumah walet. Pantas sirkulasi udara di dalamnya macet sehingga amonia yang muncul dari kotoran walet tercium tajam. 'Ini aroma rupiah,' ujar Boy Susandi, si empunya.

Rumah berumur 5 tahun itu justru menghasilkan sarang setelah ventilasi ditutup. Sebelumnya pada tahun pertama ketika ada lubang udara, sulit memancing walet masuk. Setelah ditelisik kehadiran lubang udara membuat kelembapan rendah, hanya 70%. Sebaliknya ketika ventilasi ditutup, kelembapan stabil di angka 85-90%. Buntutnya setahun berselang pada 2005 mulai dijumpai walet bersarang. Jumlahnya sedikit, baru hitungan jari. 'Namun jumlah itu terus meningkat. Kenaikannya mencapai 125% pada 2007,' kata alumnus Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Satya Wacana, Malang, Jawa Timur, itu.

Pintu besar
Menurut Mulyadi, praktikus walet di Serpong, Tangerang, rumah walet tanpa lubang angin sah-sah saja. 'Di Lampung banyak rumah walet yang berhasil tanpa lubang angin. Yang terpenting kelembapan tinggi dan suhu stabil,' ujarnya. Tanpa lubang angin berarti tidak ada uap air yang terbawa keluar oleh angin, sehingga kelembapan ruangan dapat dipertahankan.
Kelembapan tinggi di rumah walet itu bukan semata-mata tanpa ventilasi, tapi diciptakan Boy dengan pengabutan. Mesin yang digunakan Boy mampu mengabutkan ruangan seluas 30 m². Mesin itu dinyalakan 24 jam nonstop dengan durasi 5 menit/jam. Pada musim hujan mesin kabut tidak dioperasikan.

Sejatinya kelembapan dan suhu ideal harus diimbangi dengan sirkulasi udara yang lancar. Tersendatnya sirkulasi udara membuat amonia tertahan dan terus menumpuk. Pada konsentrasi yang tinggi dapat meracuni walet. Sebab itu menurut Dr Boedi Mranata, praktikus walet di Jakarta Selatan, bangunan yang sirkulasi udaranya jelek produksi sarang biasanya tidak optimal. 'Bahkan lama-kelamaan walet tidak berkembang,' kata Boedi. Kondisi seperti itu mulai tampak di lantai dasar dan kedua yang hanya terdapat 300-400 sarang.

Walet lebih memilih menghuni lantai ke-3 dan ke-4 yang aroma amonianya tercium samar-samar. Sirkulasi udara di kedua tempat itu bagus karena berada di dekat lubang masuk burung di pojok kanan lantai 4. Pintu masuk berukuran 5 m x 1,5 m itu cukup mengalirkan udara segar. Itu diperkuat lagi oleh jarak antarlantai setinggi 4 m yang memudahkan pergerakan udara di dalamnya.

Konsekuensinya, ukuran pintu masuk yang besar membuat sinar matahari terlalu kuat menerangi ruangan tempat walet bersarang atau resting room. Padahal, Collocalia fuciphaga itu menghendaki kondisi remang-remang. Untuk mengatasinya Boy memasang layar terbuat dari bahan selebar 12 m x 8 m yang sekaligus menjadi pembatas lobi-tempat walet bermain-dan bersarang.

Di depan pintu masuk, Boy juga menambahkan dak air berukuran 13 m x 8 m yang menyerupai bak. Dak itu berisi air setinggi 7 cm beratap langit. Tujuannya, 'Selain mengurangi paparan sinar matahari, juga sebagai penahan panas,' kata Boy. Dak terbuat dari beton berlapis membran agar tidak bocor. Pada setiap tepi dak diberi pipa sepanjang 15 cm yang dibuat menyerupai orang-orangan sawah. Itu untuk mengelabui walet. Menurut pria kelahiran Makassar 37 tahun lalu itu walet akan mengira sedang berada di sawah, tempatnya mencari serangga.

Semua teknik itu dipakai Boy pada seluruh rumah waletnya yang berjumlah 5 buah. Contohnya rumah di dekat pelabuhan Soekarno-Hatta setinggi 3 lantai dengan luas bangunan 375 m². Rumah yang baru berumur sebulan itu langsung didatangi walet. Itu terlihat di dinding setebal 40 cm terdapat kotoran walet berwarna putih. Supaya walet tertarik masuk, Boy memasang 300 tweeter dengan volume maksimal. Lantaran walet senang air di antara dinding gedung dibuat kolam 8 m x 5 m yang dilengkapi selang berlubang. Dari sanalah air nantinya menyemprot seperti kabut.

Menurut Boy selain teknik, kunci sukses memancing walet masuk adalah memilih lokasi rumah yang tepat. Dari banyak tempat di Makassar, Boy menyukai daerah Pecinan yang meliputi 16 jalan utama seperti jalan Sulawesi, Bonarate, Flores, dan Biak. Alasannya, 'Daerah itu sudah lama jadi lintasan walet dan salah satu sentra walet terbesar di Sulawesi Selatan,' ucap Boy yang minimal mengamati selama 2 minggu untuk menentukan lokasi yang cocok. Jarak ke sumber pakan di Takalar juga dekat. 'Walet lebih mudah mencari serangga,' tambahnya.

Trubus menyaksikan keberadaan si liur emas di daerah yang dihuni mayoritas etnis Tianghoa itu saat senja tiba. Saat itu suara tweeter terdengar riuh-rendah dari setiap rumah walet. Gerombolan walet pun memenuhi langit di Pecinan. Bahkan langit di atas salah satu rumah walet tertua yang umurnya ditaksir 25 tahun itu tampak lebih hitam tertutup walet. Setiap 25 menit sekitar 600.000 walet masuk rumah itu. Dari informasi yang diperoleh, rumah 3 lantai berukuran 14 m x 27 m itu produksinya mencapai 1.000 kg/panen.

Desain bangunan rumah walet itu seperti normalnya rumah walet, banyak lubang angin. Untuk menarik walet, rumah itu juga memakai pintu yang lebar. Lantai atas bangunan terdapat bumbungan tempat walet bermain sebelum masuk ke rumah. 'Tapi bumbungan itu tidak diberi kolam,' tutur Boy.

The Oldest in Sulawesi
Di luar Pecinan, di Makassar masih ada lokasi walet lain seperti di Sam Ratulangi, selatan Makassar. Namun, produksi jumlah sarang di sentra itu kalah dibandingkan di Pecinan. Maklum, bangunan-bangunannya relatif baru. Misal rumah 3 lantai milik Agung, baru dibangun pada 2005 sehingga produksinya tidak lebih daripada 5 kg. Meski demikian rumah-rumah walet di Makassar menjadi bukti pesatnya pertumbuhan si liur emas di Sulawesi Selatan. Berdasarkan pengamatan Boy saat ini sekitar 300 bangunan walet ada di Makassar.

Para investor tertarik membangun rumah walet di Makassar karena tingkat keberhasilan memancing walet cukup tinggi. 'Yang masuk ke dalam rumah mayoritas langsung walet,' kata Boy. Makassar salah satu sentra walet tertua di Pulau Sulawesi. 'Dahulu para pemilik rumah walet di Makassar seperti Manado banyak yang putar telur,' ujar Boedi. Nah, karena itu populasi walet di Makassar terus berkembang. Tak aneh kalau penampung sarang pun banyak berkeliaran di sana. Mereka membeli sarang, sarang dicuci, lalu langsung dibawa ke Surabaya. (Lastioro Anmi Tambunan)

by Trubuson

Friday, January 9, 2009

Swiflets in Argentina

Argentina is not only where many top soccer players come from, but it also has many swiftlets. In Iguazu National Park, for example, there are tens thousands of swiflet live on rocky walls by the waterfall. The black-white haired bird is made as the symbol of the 65.000 hectare park. They are known as great dusky swift Cypseloides senex. Their figure is bigger than swiftlet Collocalia fuciphaga. Unlike C. fuciphaga, great dusky has nest made of moss or grass that grow on soggy cliffs. Accordingly, many nests of great dusky swifts are found behind the waterfalls. As there is no harvesting, the nest are in rows which indicates that dusky also live in group. In each group there can be hundreds of swiflet. It is still difficult to breed great dusky. Even if it is possible, the chance is small. It is due to the climate in Argentina that is too cold.(Dr Boedi Mranata, Swiftlet practitioner, patron of Birdlife Indonesia)
Walet di Negeri Tango
Argentina tak hanya gudang pemain sepakbola andal. Negeri Tango itu juga gudang walet. Di Taman Nasional Iguazu, misalnya, terdapat puluhan ribu walet menghuni tebing-tebing di dekat air terjun. Burung berbulu hitam-putih itu dijadikan lambang iguazu.

Terkuaknya Argentina memiliki gudang walet berawal dari lawatan Dr Michael Rands, presiden direktur Birdlife International ke Indonesia pada Februari 2008. Setelah melihat rumah-rumah walet milik penulis, orang nomor 1 di dunia konservasi perburungan itu sangat tertarik pada kemajuan budidaya walet di Indonesia. 'Ini sumbangan nyata terhadap perkembangan populasi walet yang pada 1990-an dianggap terancam punah,' ujarnya. Ujung-ujungnya, ia mengundang penulis ke konferensi Birdlife International di Buenos Aires, Argentina, pada September 2008 untuk membeberkan seluk-beluk budidaya walet dan perdagangannya. Konferensi ini dihadiri hampir 1.000 delegasi dari lebih 100 negara.

Diwakili penulis dan 9 delegasi Birdlife Indonesia lainnya, berangkatlah kami menuju negara yang terkenal tarian tango-nya itu. Perjalanan udara ditempuh selama 30 jam dari Bandara Soekarno-Hatta. Buenos Aires penuh dengan gedung-gedung tua dengan corak Eropa. Hampir sebagian besar wilayah Argentina merupakan tanah pertanian yang subur dengan peternakannya yang maju. Negara yang berbatasan dengan Brazil itu sangat memperhatikan lingkungan, sehingga di sudut-sudut kota terlihat asri dengan vegetasi tanaman terpelihara.
Great dusky swift
Menyampaikan makalah walet di hadapan para delegasi adalah kehormatan bagi Indonesia, khususnya penulis. Kesempatan itulah yang dipergunakan untuk memperkenalkan mereka pada produk dan budidaya walet. Hasilnya mereka menyadari bahwa budidaya walet adalah bagian dari aktivitas konservasi yang harus dilindungi dan didukung bersama. Banyak peserta aktif terlibat diskusi dan menyatakan kekagumannya, bahkan beberapa peserta berminat untuk mencicipi dan mengetahui lebih jauh khasiat sarang burung walet.

Yang mengagetkan, dalam diskusi terlontar di Argentina bagian utara terdapat populasi walet yang jumlahnya terus bertambah dari waktu ke waktu. Burung yang mirip walet itu hidup liar, tidak ada yang membudidayakan. Informasi inilah yang membuat penasaran penulis untuk mengunjungi habitatnya. Sayangnya panitia tidak mengagendakan kunjungan ke sana, meski burung ini termasuk yang sangat ketat dilindungi pemerintah Argentina.

Terdorong keinginan kuat untuk mengetahui keberadaan sang walet, keesokan harinya setelah selesai kongres, delegasi dari Indonesia terbang ke Iguazu, tepatnya Taman Nasional Iguazu. Di taman inilah walet-walet kabanggaan Argentina membangun kerajaan. Perjalanan yang melelahkan selama 2 jam seolah terbayar lunas kala melihat walet-walet berseliweran di atas air terjun. 'Pemandangan yang indah,' ucap salah seorang anggota delegasi. Air terjun Iguazu memang satu dari 3 air terjun terbesar di dunia, selain Niagara di Amerika Serikat dan Victoria di Zimbabwe.

Bagi pengusaha walet, tentu bukan air terjun setinggi 80 m yang mengagumkan, tapi waletnya. Walet-walet yang jumlahnya mencapai puluhan ribu memperlihatkan gerak-gerik menarik. Dengan kepakan sayap yang kuat mereka menerobos derasnya kucuran air terjun. Mereka tidak takut air, tapi justru bermain di antara cipratan-cipratan air. Perilaku itu sama seperti kebiasaan walet di tanahair yang senang dengan semprotan air dari sepuyer di samping pintu keluar-masuk.

Sosok walet yang konon ada sejak ratusan tahun lalu itu lebih besar dari walet Collocalia fuciphaga. Panjang tubuhnya 18 cm, tapi rentang sayap relatif pendek, sekitar 24 cm. Oleh karena itu, walet yang sama-sama famili Apodidae itu terbangnya tidak seelegan saudaranya C. fuciphaga. Kepala agak besar berwarna abu-abu keputihan dengan mata cukup lebar. Tubuhnya yang sedikit membulat diselimuti bulu kecokelatan. Jenisnya Cypseloides senex, di Argentina dikenal dengan sebutan great dusky swift.
Sarang lumut
Tak seperti C. fuciphaga, sarang great dusky terbuat dari lumut atau rumput-rumputan yang tumbuh di tebing-tebing basah. Sepintas mirip sarang sriti yang tersusun dari rumput laut atau daun cemara yang direkat air liur. Sarang berukuran 2-3 kali sarang mangkuk collocalia itu tidak mempunyai nilai ekonomis. Bentuk sarang agak membulat sehingga terlihat cekung. Sang burung memanfaatkannya untuk beristirahat dan menyimpan telur kala musim berbiak tiba.
Sarang-sarang great dusky banyak ditemukan di dekat air terjun, bahkan di balik air terjun. Karena tidak dilakukan pemanenan, sarang-sarang itu terlihat berderet-deret. Itu mengindikasikan dusky juga hidup berkelompok. Anak-anaknya membangun sarang tidak jauh dari sarang sang induk. Berdasarkan jumlah sarang yang teramati, setiap kelompok bisa mencapai ratusan ekor. Menurut staf pengelola taman nasional, burung-burung yang posisi istirahatnya menggantung-tidak bisa berdiri tegak-itu mengeluarkan bunyi nyaring waktu terbang bermain atau menjelang keluar untuk mencari pakan dan saat pulang akan tidur.
Di habitatnya, di antara 150 jenis burung penghuni taman, kehidupan dusky terlihat 'sejahtera'. Sebab, ia berada di lingkungan yang aman dengan pakan berlimpah. Maklum dusky burung terkenal yang jadi perhatian pemerintah Argentina, itu, tak ada yang mengganggu sama sekali meski pengunjung taman mencapai 1,5-juta orang per tahun. Apalagi daya adaptasinya cukup baik, dusky bisa hidup di bawah suhu 20-33oC. Tak aneh kalau populasinya terus meningkat, diperkirakan mencapai 10% per tahun. Namun jenis walet ini masih sulit dan kemungkinannya kecil bisa dibudidayakan seperti sejenis C. fuciphaga. Sebab, di Argentina terbentur iklim yang terlalu dingin.

Andai bisa dibudidayakan pun, Indonesia yang selama ini menjadi penghasil sarang walet terbesar di dunia tak perlu takut tersaingi. Justru dengan semakin dikenalnya walet di berbagai benua, diharapkan konsumen sarang walet pun mendunia, tidak sebatas Asia. Asal, kreativitas para peternak untuk mengembangkan teknologi budidaya walet terus dipacu dan pihak pemerintah mendukungnya, Indonesia akan tetap menjadi produsen nomor 1. Penulis yakin kunjungan ke Taman Nasional Iguazu sangat bermanfaat untuk mendapatkan ide-ide baru demi kemajuan perwaletan di masa mendatang.
Sumber: Trubuson